WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st February, 2020) Moscow is prepared to protect the history concerning the victory of WWII from falsehoods, and stresses that the heroic deeds of the Soviet people who paid an incredibly high price for this victory should not be forgotten, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said.
The Russian ambassador spoke on Thursday at the Embassy event dedicated to the Defender of the Fatherland Day. It was attended by the various diplomatic missions and military attaches of different countries. In his speech, Antonov recalled that this year, the world would celebrate the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazism.
"The Great Patriotic War took the lives of 27 million of my compatriots. The Soviet people, more than anyone else, strived to bring this war to a victorious end and establish a long-lasting and enduring peace. It was the Soviet Army that made a decisive contribution to the defeat of Hitler's Germany. In the fiercest battles, our troops not only drove the Nazis from our land but went on to carry out the liberating mission of freeing Europe from enslavement," Antonov said.
He emphasized the importance of those events, as well as Russia's commitment to preserving its history.
"These are not just historical facts but the memory that lives in every Russian family. This is our Victory, which we will defend from lies and oblivion... By reminding of the great heroic deed of the Soviet people, we wish to emphasize the commitment to the cause of peace of our country, which paid an incredibly high price for it," the Russian ambassador stressed.
"At the beginning of World War II, awareness of the total menace of Nazism did not come at once. It took years and millions of victims before humanity rallied. It was the unity that helped defeat the aggressor. This invaluable experience of mutual support is much needed today," he stated.
Antonov went on to say that April 25 marks the 75th anniversary of Soviet and US troops meeting on the Elbe River.
"Russian and American veterans have preserved the spirit of unity that was forged in the battle against the common enemy. Their military brotherhood proved to be stronger than any political or ideological differences even during the hard times of the Cold War," he said.
He expressed hope that the river meeting will not be relegated to the past and will continue to influence international relations for the better.
"I hope that the spirit of the Elbe will not be just a symbol in our relations, but a factor that has the power to really improve them," the ambassador wished.
The Defender of the Fatherland Day, previously known as the Soviet Army and Navy Day, was introduced in 1922 and commemorates the establishment of the Red Army in 1918. The Soviet Union tended to regard the date of February 23, 1918, as a day commemorating the first Soviet victory over German troops near the Russian cities of Pskov and Narva, however, further research revealed that no major clashes had taken place at that time.
The holiday is primarily a day to honor war veterans and those who serve in the military, but over the years, "the defender" has come to represent more than a soldier, and the holiday is now also widely considered to be a day celebrating men in Russia. For the holiday, women usually give small presents to their male relatives, friends, husbands and co-workers.